Satellite Images Show ‘Unusual Activity’ at Nuclear Site Near Tehran

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference during a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Monday. (Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)

Satellite images released by the Intel Lab research group on Wednesday depict unusual activity at Sanjarian, an Iranian nuclear site, where it is believed the Islamic republic is developing shock wave generators – devices that would allow Iran to miniaturize nuclear weapons.

According to Fox News, the images depict vehicles at the site in October 2020, and a new access road and excavation in January 2021 that was covered up in March.

The activity at the site was exposed by Israel in 2018 when documents of its existence were found in the Iranian nuclear archives apprehended by the Mossad intelligence agency.

The information comes as the International Atomic Energy Agency is holding meetings in Vienna on a potential new nuclear deal with Tehran.

During Monday’s meeting, the U.S. accused Iran of violating the deal.

“We strongly encourage Iran to avoid any action that would prevent the collection of or IAEA access to the information necessary for it to quickly re-establish continuity of knowledge,” a U.S. statement to a meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors said.

IAEA Director Rafael Grossi issued a similar warning: “My expectations about this process, of course, were not met. … We have a country that has a very developed and ambitious nuclear program, which is enriching at very high levels, enriching uranium at very high levels, very close to weapons-grade.”

Grossi warned that the IAEA can no longer say that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

“The Iranian government has reiterated its will to engage and to cooperate and to provide answers,” Grossi said. “But they haven’t done that so far. So I hope this may change, but as we speak, we haven’t had any concrete progress on any of the issues.”

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress that “we don’t know, at this stage, whether Iran is willing and able to do what it would need to do to come back into compliance” with the 2015 deal.

“I would anticipate that even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain unless and until Iran’s behavior changes.”